1952 Bentley MK VI 'Big Bore'


・Excellent condition, low mileage example.
・Comprehensive service documentation, including original sales records.
・Documented owners list, with a notable family name in its history.
・Dry stored and meticulously maintained.

The Background

The Bentley Mark VI was a postwar luxury sport saloon. Prepared to have a factory-supplied all-steel body, so it could be shipped to a global market. The factory bodies were sent to Bentley’s works in Crewe for painting and fitting out with beautifully finished wood and leather. 

The ‘Silent Sports Car’ as it was marketed in the period, was engineered by Bentley designers to have a shorter wheelbase, which meant less weight and therefore better handling and a superior power-to-weight ratio. While output figures were never officially released by Bentley, the manufacturer made the very British statement that performance was “adequate”. Noted in the motoring press of the time, a 4.6-litre, factory bodied car was tested by The Motor magazine in 1951 where it recorded a top speed of 100 mph with a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 15.0 seconds.

The MK VI featured rear hinged "suicide" doors (with concealed hinges), a sliding sunroof, permanently closed windscreen with a defrosting and demisting unit hidden in the scuttle and an electrically controlled heater beneath the front passenger's seat. Provision was made for the fitting of a radio with a short and flexibly mounted aerial that could be swung up above the centre of the screen, as is seen on the example we have here.

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The History

This black MK VI with its light blue leather interior, was sold by Park Ward & Co. of London, to J.R. Bridgman Esq. in August of 1952, accompanied with its bill of sale and build and chassis specification works instruction sheet. Both of which remain with the vehicle today.

Of particular note in this Bentley’s history, is the time spent in the Schroder banking family’s ownership. Evident in the accompanying documentation, Miss Marga Schroder and then Mr John Henry Schroder are recorded as the third and fourth owners respectively.

The current owner has had the car since 2016, but with little-to-no use throughout this past year (other than running the car up to temperature and maintenance runs), and so it is time for this Bentley to move on to its new custodian.

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The Paperwork

Accompanying the car is an extensive record of documentation, including original stamped licenses recorded through the decades, providing a charming and original story to this MK VI. 

In general, the paperwork is significant and includes the original factory order, registration book and history of all of the 8 owners to date. 

The full story of this beautiful car’s provenance and history is well documented and would strongly suggest the 64,000 miles may well be genuine.

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The Interior 

As you grip the chrome handle of any of the suicide doors and step inside, you’re immediately transported to a period of luxury in simpler times. In an age when driver aids and comfort meant defrosting and demisting heaters, twin windscreen wipers, a radio and cigarette lighter, it is in the quality and craftsmanship of the coach build and upholstery where you really experience a feast for the senses.

Whether you choose to sit in the front or rear of the car, all sills, surrounding paintwork and doors seals are still in great condition, with nothing unsightly to distract your eyes upon entry.

The smell of the original leather interior is the perfect accompaniment to the wood trim that adorns the dashboard, door tops, window frames, the radio, sunroof surround and the charming foldout rear passenger tables. This interior was without doubt appointed to ensure its occupants were always touring in comfort and style.

The mix of materials throughout the inside of this Bentley are all in a very attractive condition, with bright chrome work, showing only minimal age-related pitting. The leather of the seats features just the right amount of original wear, with no signs of unsightly rips or tears or fading on high traffic areas. The same can be said of the blue carpets, which also remain in great condition. Seat belts were later added for safety.

The sliding sunroof opens and closes with ease and the owner notes that all switches and controls throughout the car work as they should.

The rear trunk is a split arrangement where the upper main compartment is reserved for luggage and the lower section houses the spare wheel, original tools and jack.

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The Exterior

The exterior silhouette of the Bentley Mark VI has a fabulous period presence. Those striking lines of Bentley’s design are a masterclass of coachwork and today the panels and gaps appear straight and true. The gleaming black paint is set off beautifully with the abundance of bright work, where all the chrome fixings are fine fettle with only minimal signs of age.

Working around the car’s exterior, there are no notable dents, or heavy scratching with only very minor marking here and there as expected given its age, but generally the exterior appearance happily defies the Bentley’s 71 years since birth. The tall and striking radiator is topped with the iconic ‘Flying B’. The owner also notes there is an additional blanking cap accompanying the car. Also adorning the front are AA, RAC and Bentley Drivers Club badges, all believed to be period correct.

The number plates are the original 3-dimensional lettering, which sit behind glass at the rear. On the subject of glass, all windows and lights present in a nice clear condition, with no nasty scratches noted.

As with the body work and under bonnet mechanicals, the underside of the car has benefitted from a sheltered life in a dry garage and predominantly dry miles on the road. The owner notes that there is little to no rust on the underside, in keeping with the maintenance and care lavished on this car throughout its lifetime. It benefits from a stainless fuel tank, part stainless exhaust system and recently new brake drums.

Completing the exterior are the Bentley embossed black and silver wheels, which all look to be in an extremely good state. All four tyres were new in 2012 and having covered very few miles, appear in very good condition, with plenty of remaining tread.

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The Mechanics 

The 4 ½ litre, 4.6 L (4566 cc) engine was introduced in 1951 and referred to as the ‘big bore’ engine. This is mated to a four-speed manual transmission, with the gear lever interestingly sitting to the right-hand side of the driver. Of note in this example, is that an overdrive has been fitted by the previous owner. Externally, the tell-tale sign of the 4 ½ litre big bore, is the twin exhaust pipes. 

Lifting either side of the centre hinged bonnet, reveals a well presented and evidently regularly serviced engine and ancillaries, where the present owner has kept up a regular schedule of servicing during his tenure. The car starts with ease, is strong and smooth on the move and settles to a whisper-like idle as you’d expect from a well-cared for low-mileage example.

The service history backs up what presents as a generally brilliant mechanical condition car. On the move, the Bentley appears to have no concerns regarding starting, driving, stopping and shutting off the engine. Mechanical servicing intervals have been plentiful throughout its lifetime and are reflected in its current running condition.

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The Appeal

This beautifully maintained Mark VI marks a superb opportunity to enjoy an eminently drivable Bentley grand tourer that has a magnificent design, rarity, and notable ownership at a very reasonable guide price. The car has been used sparingly and always garaged, which is reflected in its wonderful condition.

These handsome Bentleys are becoming increasingly popular and are well worth the investment and continuing care to maintain the high standard of this example.

The obvious and perhaps cliché reason to buy one is to undertake wedding duties and other such significant occasions, for which it would be well suited and serve any bridal party exquisitely. 

However, for town or country, these pacey grand tourers were built for miles of memories out on the open road. With suitcases and hat boxes loaded into the rear trunk, this handsome Mark VI would effortlessly whisk its occupants across the British Isles and on into Europe, for a truly elegant road trip.

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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1952
  • Make Bentley
  • Model MK VI 'Big Bore'
  • Colour Black
  • Odometer 63,924 Miles
  • Engine size 4566
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
41 bids
  • Ca•••• £45,000 11/05/21
  • Fs•••• £44,750 11/05/21
  • Ca•••• £44,500 11/05/21
  • Fs•••• £44,250 11/05/21
  • Fs•••• £44,000 11/05/21
  • Ca•••• £43,750 11/05/21
  • Fs•••• £43,500 11/05/21
  • Ca•••• £43,250 11/05/21
  • Fs•••• £43,000 11/05/21
  • Ca•••• £42,750 11/05/21

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